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Mayor's Purchase Award Winner 2019: Raoul Olou

May 21, 2020

During this time of isolation, the memories of our joyful gathering as a community at Nathan Phillips Square take on a whole new meaning.

In the spirit of spreading the joy of art, it is our pleasure to feature the talented and exuberant Raoul Olou who earned the 2019 Mayor's Purchase award, generously supported by the City of Toronto and The Market Gallery, Toronto’s municipal art gallery. On opening day of the Fair, Mayor John Tory and judge Neil Brochu, City of Toronto’s Supervisor Collections and Outreach, were captivated by Raoul's gentle yet vibrant reflections of his experience in Toronto. Raoul's neighbourhoods and portraits, often caught in the light of dusk, hold the intrigue of a fresh perspective exploring a new place. It is a beautiful visual diary of a curious soul making a home in a new city. 

Raoul Olou speaks with Mayor John Tory and Neil Brochu, Supervisor Collections and Outreach, City of Toronto
Beyond his artistic talent, Raoul touched and charmed the TOAF community and visitors with his optimism, warmth, and commitment throughout the entire Fair experience. And, he sold out every single piece he had in his booth! 

We are thrilled that Raoul has earned this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have his work become a part of the City of Toronto’s permanent art collection.

Enjoy getting to know him,

anahita 
Executive & Creative Director 

Portrait of Raoul in front of his painting. Image by Sarah Bodri

 

Meet the Artist

Raoul Olou is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. His work focuses on home, belonging and archiving the mundane. In addition to being awarded the Mayor's Purchase award at TOAF in 2019, he also participated in charity auctions including #ArtWithHeart to support HIV care.
 

"I'm interested in using painting as a way to document one experience; the work that I've been producing for the last years is a visual diary of my move to Toronto."

– Raoul Olou

Raoul accepting the award at the 2019 ceremony from Neil Brochu, City of Toronto
 

'Untitled', Raoul Olou, 8 x 10, oil on panel and 'King Convenience', Raoul Olou 

On Winning the Award

"It was my first time participating in the outdoor art fair and I was pretty nervous, so winning this award was humbling and an amazing surprise. It felt like an encouragement to continue pursue this direction in my work .

It also definitely brought a lot of visibility to my work and I was able later to visit the vault at Market Gallery that holds paintings from the 19th century of what Toronto looked then. That was an amazing experience." 

– Raoul Olou

'The dog that lives next to this house is a jerk', Raoul Olou, 5 x 7, oil on panel

Visit his website: raoulolou.com
On Instagram: @raoul_o

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